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Dec 29, 2012 7:51pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

LAS VEGAS —Tony Stewart has long insisted hes given up his childhood dream of
winning the Indianapolis 500. Peyton Manning Game Jersey . He might have to
reconsider. What seemed like a throwaway line in Roger Penskes speech Friday
night appears to be an actual offer for Stewart to drive the Indianapolis 500
next year. The team owner tossed it out while accepting the Sprint Cup trophy
and lauding Stewart, last years champion. “I know we took your spot this year,”
Penske said. “But youre a car owner . youre a race driver, youre a track
promoter—how about doing the double at Indy this year? Are you available?”
The banquet room at Wynn Las Vegas Resort broke out into laughter, as most
everyone assumed Penske was joking. But later, when given the chance to shrug it
off as a lighthearted moment with Stewart, Penske insisted he was very serious.
“If he wants to do the double, Id put him in it,” Penske said. “Weve talked
about it before, I guess I made it official tonight.” And, Penske Racing
President Tim Cindric backed the team owner later that evening, confidently
predicting the team can convince NASCARs three-time champion to sign on for the
race. Cindric even asked on Twitter if the team can count on Stewart for the
race. Stewart did not comment after the banquet, only smiling tightly before
walking away. Surely this is an offer the Indiana native cant refuse?
Penske-owned cars have won the Indianapolis 500 15 times, and its the one race
“The Captain” holds higher than anything else. Penske has not won it since Helio
Castroneves 2009 victory. The Indy 500 also is Stewarts favourite race, but he
failed to win it five tries and last entered it in 2001. The partnership seems
perfect on paper. Penskes IndyCar operation is powered by Chevrolet, which is
Stewarts longtime manufacturer. Although the Indianapolis 500 is a spectacular
race that doesnt need any sideshows, Penske luring Stewart into the field would
bring attention to the slumping IndyCar Series at a time its getting battered
for off-track politics. And, there could be an altruistic motive for Penske, who
accepted his first Cup championship Friday night with Brad Keselowski 40 years
after first entering NASCAR. With really nothing left to accomplish on his
racing resume, Penske could generously be trying to give Stewart, considered to
be one of the few remaining pure American racers, a shot at realizing his dream.
It would be a feel good story, too. The last native Hoosier to win the Indy 500
was Wilbur Shaw in 1940. Stewart ran the Indy 500 five times, starting from the
pole as a rookie in 1996 and leading 44 laps before his engine failed. His
highest finish was fifth in 1997. Stewart twice attempted to run both the Indy
500 and NASCARs Coca-Cola 600 on the same day: In 1999, he was ninth at Indy and
fourth at Charlotte, and in 2001, he was sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte.
He hasnt tried Indianapolis since, and has seemingly let go of trying to win the
race. He has twice won the Brickyard 400, NASCARs race at storied Indy. “The
hard part for me was you make that decision when you sign up to do (NASCAR),”
Stewart said last January. “The decision you make, you have to come to peace
with yourself with saying Im not going to do this. That was my childhood dream
anyway. It was hard knowing when I signed that (NASCAR) contract that I was
writing off the opportunity to go race at Indy. “Its figuring out at the end of
the day what do you really want to do. I guess thats the part that even though
it was hard to watch opening day of practice at Indianapolis, Im enjoying what
Im doing, too, and this is what I want to do at the end of the day. It makes you
want 30-hour days and 400-day years and we always want to do more than what were
capable of doing, but the reality is you have to pick at some point and choose
your career path. This is what Ive done.” The window for changing his mind is
closing, too. Stewart will be 42 next May—the same age idol AJ Foyt was when
he won the 500 in 1977. Arie Luyendyk was 43 when he won 1997, Emerson
Fittapaldi won at 46 and Bobby Unser and Al Unser both won at 47. Penske said it
would have to take some scheduling adjustments between IndyCar and NASCAR in
order for Stewart to run the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor
Speedway, and hes not sure the two series could work together to make it happen.
“Like Republicans and Democrats, its hard to get them on the same page,” Penske
said. “IndyCar and NASCAR, getting them on the same page to do a double, might
be a difficult task.” There could be a potential sponsor conflict, as well.
Stewart is sponsored in NASCAR by Mobil 1, while Penske has a deal in both
series with Shell Pennzoil. Either sponsor could balk at a potential pairing,
but Mobil had previously been a longtime Penske partner. And, Stewart-Haas
Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli recently voiced his opposition to
Danica Patrick running Indy because of the distractions it would create for the
NASCAR team. Zipadelli was Stewarts crew chief when he did both of his doubles.
“I lived through it twice with one of the greatest racers Ive ever seen, and
trying to run both of those races is just stupid,” Zipadelli said in October.
“She needs to focus on the Cup car if thats what she wants to do. If shes here
to be in NASCAR, then she needs to be here focused on NASCAR.” Penske said
Friday night adding Stewart to the Indy 500 would be good for the race and
IndyCar, and Penske Racing could pull it off—but only if it was a real
effort. “You could put something together that could be pretty good,” Penske
said. “But I said earlier that its hard to get the two series together on
anything, and youd have to make it work so he could get back and forth and make
it be meaningful for our team. It wouldnt be worth it for him or for us if it
wasnt for a full effort.” Eric Decker Camo Jersey . Still, it was a win
by the Pittsburgh Pirates that had him really excited. Demaryius Thomas Pink Jersey . To sweeten the
debut of Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova, David Villa played his first competitive
minutes since breaking his leg last December and capped the win with a goal.
While Cristiano Ronaldo was lacklustre when Madrid opened its title defence,
Messi picked up right where he left off after scoring a league-record 50 goals
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special teams player of the week on Tuesday for his team-record 129-yard TD
return of Swayze Waters missed field goal in the third quarter of Montreals
31-10 win over the Toronto Argonauts on the weekend. LOS ANGELES —Chris Young
and Chris Capuano are a couple of kindred spirits. They were teammates with the
New York Mets last season and shared one common trait above all—resiliency.
Both spent significant time away from the game because of injuries that required
surgery and resulted in grueling comebacks. And in their first head-to-head
matchup since Capuano left for free agency, Young and the Mets came away with a
3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night. “It was fun when I
saw the matchup, knowing that I was going up against him,” Young said. “Cappys a
great guy and Im happy for him. I know its been a hard road for him. Ive been
through it, so I know what its like.” “And to see his success this year, Im very
thrilled for him. But I wanted to beat him and I wanted us to win the game.
Thats the most important thing. And the guys managed to get one more than they
did,” he said. David Wright hit a solo homer and RBI double as the Mets sent the
Dodgers to their fifth straight loss. The Dodgers ended their 33-inning
scoreless drought in the fourth, with Dee Gordon getting congratulated up and
down the dugout after crossing the plate. But they couldnt break through against
the Mets bullpen and dropped from the top of the NL West standings. “I did see
some jumping and hooting and hollering there, but we tried to stay focused
because we still had a game to play,” Dodgers catcher Matt Treanor said. Young
(2-1) allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, striking out six and
walking none. Relievers Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch followed and then
Bobby Parnell, getting his first save opportunity since closer Frank Francisco
went on the disabled list, pitched a perfect ninth inning for his first save of
the year. Capuano (9-3) gave up three runs, five hits and no walks over seven
innings. The Mets are the only NL club the 33-year-old left-hander has never
beaten—including five starts with Milwaukee in which he was 0-4 with a 6.35
ERA. Capuano came in 5-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his seven previous home starts this
season. Capuano has followed Youngs efforts. “Hes just such a competitor,”
Capuano said. “When he was healthy starting out last year, he did some amazing
things and pitched some great games for us. Then he suddenly went down with that
shoulder injury.” “He was really down at that point, and I just tried to talk to
him and give some encouragement,” he said. “I told him: Hey, I missed twoo years
(after Tommy John surgery) and didnt know if I was going to make it back. Tracy Porter Jersey. So just keep at it. You
know how to pitch. Just take your time and just focus on the rehab. Now hes back
and throwing great.” Coming off a three-game sweep at San Francisco in which
they were outscored 15-0, the Dodgers shutout string ended when Gordon doubled
and Elian Herrera tripled over the head of centre fielder Andres Torres.
Juan Rivera followed with a sharp single through the box—all with none out.
The drought was the Dodgers longest since the 1966 World Series against
Baltimore, when they were blanked over the final 33 innings by Moe Drabowsky,
Jim Palmer, Wally Bunker and Dave McNally. The franchise mark is 41 scoreless
innings, set in August 1908 when they were known as the Brooklyn Superbas. The
Mets, who came in with the second-best average in the majors with runners in
scoring position and two outs, regained the lead in the fifth with a two-out
double by Torres after Mike Nickeas singled, advanced on Youngs sacrifice and
stole third. New York leads the majors with 167 two-out runs. Wright, who had a
season-high five RBIs in Wednesdays 17-1 rout of the Cubs at Wrigley Field,
doubled home a run in the first. In the fourth, he golfed a drive into the
left-field pavilion. It was his ninth homer and 192nd of his career, tying
Howard Johnson for third place on the Mets career list behind Darryl Strawberry
(252) and Mike Piazza (220). NOTES: The Dodgers are 3-10 since the NHL champion
Kings stopped by Chavez Ravine to show off the Stanley Cup they won two nights
earlier. At the time, they led the Giants by 4 1/2 games. ... Dodgers RF
Andre Ethier, who strained the oblique muscle on his left side while checking
his swing in Wednesdays game, did not play. He is 12 for 29 with six homers
against Young. “At this point, were kind of day to day,” manager Don Mattingly
said. “Yesterday I kind of assumed we were going to be in a DL situation. But
the docs looked at it and didnt see any swelling, so the news couldnt be any
better as far as Andre is concerned.” ... Wright drew his 581st walk, breaking
Strawberrys club record. ... The Dodgers optioned OF Ivan DeJesus Jr. to
Triple-A and recalled RF Scott Van Slyke, who batted fifth and was 0 for 4. ...
The Dodgers have reached an agreement on a seven-year, $42 million contract with
Cuban defector Yasiel Puig. The deal for the 21-year-old outfielder is expected
to be completed on Friday, pending a physical. ’ ’ ’ 

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